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19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
19:2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.
19:3 There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.
19:4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,
19:5 Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.
19:6 His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.
19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
19:8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
19:9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
19:10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
19:11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.
19:12 Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.
19:13 Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.
19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

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Everything King James Bible:Psalms
The spacious firmament on high
With all the blue etherial sky,
And spangled heavens, a shining frame,
Their great Original proclaim;
The unwearied sun, from day to day,
Does his Creator's power display,
And publishes to every land
The work of an almighty hand.

Soon as the evening shades prevail,
The moon takes up the wondrous tale,
And nightly to the listening earth
Repeats the story of her birth:
Whilst all the stars that round her burn,
And all the planets in their turn,
Confirm the tidings as they roll,
And spread the truth from pole to pole.

What though, in solemn silence, all
Move round the dark, terrestrial ball?
What though nor real voice nor sound
Amid their radiant orbs be found?
In reason's ear they all rejoice,
And utter forth a glorious voice,
For ever singing, as they shine,
'The hand that made us is divine.'

-- Joseph Addison (1712)

Psalm 19: Coeli enarrant

    The heavenly frame sets forth the fame
    Of him that only thunders;
    The firmament, so strangely bent,
    Shows his handworking wonders.

    Day unto day doth it display,
    Their course doth it acknowledge,
    And night to night succeeding right
    In darkness teach clear knowledge.

    There is no speech, no language which
    Is so of skill bereaved,
    But of the skies the teaching cries
    They have heard and conceived.

    There be no eyen but read the line
    From so fair book proceeding,
    Their words be set in letters great
    For everybody's reading.

    Is not he blind that doth not find
    The tabernacle builded
    There by His Grace for sun's fair face
    In beams of beauty gilded?

    Who forth doth come, like a bridegroom,
    From out his veiling places,
    As glad is he, as giants be
    To run their mighty races.

    His race is even from ends of heaven;
    About that vault he goeth;
    There be no realms hid from his beams;
    His heat to all he throweth.

    O law of His, how perfect 'tis
    The very soul amending;
    God's witness sure for aye doth dure
    To simplest wisdom lending.

    God's dooms be right, and cheer the sprite,
    All His commandments being
    So purely wise it gives the eyes
    Both light and force of seeing.

    Of Him the fear doth cleanness bear
    And so endures forever,
    His judgments be self verity,
    They are unrighteous never.

    Then what man would so soon seek gold
    Or glittering golden money?
    By them is past in sweetest taste,
    Honey or comb of honey.

    By them is made Thy servants' trade
    Most circumspectly guarded,
    And who doth frame to keep the same
    Shall fully be rewarded.

    Who is the man that ever can
    His faults know and acknowledge?
    O Lord, cleanse me from faults that be
    Most secret from all knowledge.

    Thy servant keep, lest in him creep
    Presumtuous sins' offenses;
    Let them not have me for their slave
    Nor reign upon my senses.

    So shall my sprite be still upright
    In thought and conversation,
    So shall I bide well purified
    From much abomination.

    So let words sprung from my weak tongue
    And my heart's meditation,
    My saving might, Lord, in Thy sight,
    Receive good acceptation!

    Sir Philip Sidney(1554-1586)

Sir Philip Sidney was a model of Renaissance chivalry. English author and courtier. He was one of the leading members of Queen Elizabeth's court. Sidney exerted a strong influence on English poetry as patron, critic, and example. His literary efforts circulated only in manuscript during his lifetime.

An interesting phenomenon of the poetry Elizabethan and Jacobean times occurred between 1580 to 1660. During Elizabeth's reign, there were many English attempts to translate the Old Testament, but an "authorized" version had not yet been produced. It was a common practice for many writers to try to interpret the English translations, the Latin Vulgate or even ancient Hebrew texts in their own words. May aspired to make the Psalms of David into metrical and singable verse as opposed to literal translations. One possible reason may have been because the costs of printing were so prohibitively high that the goal of the composer was to make the Psalms memorable.

Psalm 19: Coeli enarrant is Sidney's interpretation of Psalm 19. Somewhat different from the King James Version, Bob Blair at the Poet's Corner expresses his opinion:

    "I don't know, but I'm guessing that he took as his starting point the translation in Tyndale's English Bible, perhaps augmented by reference to the Vulgate".
For comparison, I've put it here in this node with the Authorized (King James) translation because the authorized Version follows Tyndale closely in the Psalms.

None of Sidney's works was published in his lifetime, yet his influence was felt across the range of prose fiction, poetry, and drama for many years. He became the founding father of the great outburst of activity which produced the writing of Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Spenser, Jonson, and John Donne. He retired from court for a time after incurring the queen's displeasure, but in 1583 was restored to favor and knighted. He served in several diplomatic missions on the Continent and in 1586 at the age of 32 he was fatally wounded at the battle of Zutphen fighting for the Protestant cause in the Netherlands.


Blair, Bob:

Public domain text taken from The Poets’ Corner:

CST Approved.

Everything Psalter

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From the Great Bible, 1540 edition (known as Cranmer's Bible). Set in the Book of Common Prayer, 1662, for Morning Prayer on the fourth day of the month.

PSALM 19. Cœli enarrant.

The heavens declare the glory of God : and the firmament sheweth his handy-work.
2 One day telleth another : and one night certifieth another.
3 There is neither speech nor language : but their voices are heard among them.
4 Their sound is gone out into all lands : and their words into the ends of the world.
5 In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun : which cometh forth as a bridegroom out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a giant to run his course.
6 It goeth forth from the uttermost part of the heaven, and runneth about unto the end of it again : and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.
7 The law of the Lord is an undefiled law, converting the soul : the testimony of the Lord is sure, and giveth wisdom unto the simple. 8 The statutes of the Lord are right, and rejoice the heart : the commandement of the Lord is pure, and giveth light unto the eyes.
9 The fear of the Lord is clean, and endureth for ever : the judgements of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold : sweeter also than honey, and the honey-comb.
11 Moreover, by them is thy servant taught : and in keeping of them there is great reward.
12 Who can tell how oft he ofdendeth : O cleanse thou me from my secret faults.
13 Keep thy servant also from presumptuous sins, lest they get dominion over me : so shall I be undefiled, and innocent from the great offence.
14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart : by alway acceptable in thy sight.
15 O Lord : my strength and my redeemer.

From the Vulgate, where it is listed, according to the Catholic manner, as Psalm 18:

Caeli enarrant gloriam Dei et opus manus eius adnuntiat firmamentum.
Dies diei eructat verbum et nox nocti indicat scientiam.
Non est sermo et non sunt verba quibus non audiatur vox eorum.
In universam terram exivit sonus eorum et in finibus orbis verba eorum.
Soli posuit tabernaculum in eis et ipse quasi sponsus procedens de thalamo suo exultavit ut fortis ad currendam viam.
A summitate caeli egressus eius et cursus eius usque ad summitatem illius nec est qui se abscondat a calore eius.
Lex Domini inmaculata convertens animam testimonium Domini fidele sapientiam praestans parvulis.
Praecepta Domini recta laetificantia cor mandatum Domini lucidum inluminans oculos.
Timor Domini mundus perseverans in saecula iudicia Domini vera iustificata in semet ipsis.
Desiderabilia super aurum et lapidem pretiosum multum et dulciora super mel et favum redundantem Unde et servus tuus docebit ea in custodiendis eis fructus multus.
Errores quis intelleget ab occultis munda me.
A superbis quoque libera servum tuum si non fuerint dominati mei tunc inmaculatus ero et mundabor a delicto maximo.
Sint placentes sermones oris mei meditatio cordis mei in conspectu tuo Domine fortitudo mea et redemptor meus.

The psalm in either case may be followed by the Gloria Patri.

The beginning of this psalm provides the core text of the hymn The Spacious Firmament on High. Verses 3 and 4 of the 1540 text are used in Dorothy L Sayers' novel The Nine Tailors, where they appear as in inscription in a belfry. No other translation I am aware of has 'but' in verse 3. The last two verses are often used as a prayer before preaching a sermon.
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Psalms
Book: Psalms
Chapter: 19

The Glory of God's Works. (1-6) His Holiness and Grace as
shown in his Word. (7-10) Prayer for the benefit of them.

1-6 The heavens So declare the Glory of God, and proclaim his
Wisdom, power, and Goodness, that all ungodly men are left
without excuse. They speak themselves to be Works of God's
hands; for they must have a Creator who is eternal, infinitely
Wise, powerful, and good. The counter-changing of Day and night
is a great proof of the power of God, and calls us to observe,
that, as in the kingdom of nature, So in that of Providence, he
forms the Light, and creates the Darkness, Isa 45:7, and sets
the one against the other. The Sun in the Firmament is an emblem
of the Sun of Righteousness, the Bridegroom of the Church, and
the Light of the world, diffusing Divine Light and Salvation By
his Gospel to the nations of the Earth. He delights to Bless his
Church, which he has espoused to himself; and his course will be
unwearied as that of the Sun, till the whole Earth is filled
with his Light and Salvation. Let us pray for the time when he
shall enlighten, cheer, and make fruitful every nation On Earth,
with the blessed Salvation. They have No speech or language, So
some read it, and yet their voice is heard. All people may hear
these preachers speak in their own tongue the wonderful Works of
God. Let us give God the Glory of all the comfort and benefit we
have By the lights of Heaven, still looking above and Beyond
them to the Sun of Righteousness.

7-10 The Holy Scripture is of much greater benefit to us than
Day or night, than the Air we breathe, or the Light of the Sun.
To recover Man out of his fallen state, there is need of the
Word of God. The Word translated "Law," may be rendered
doctrine, and be understood as meaning all that teaches us true
religion. The whole is perfect; its tendency is to convert or
turn the soul from Sin and the world, to God and Holiness. It
shows our sinfulness and misery in departing from God, and the
necessity of our return to him. This Testimony is sure, to be
fully depended On: the ignorant and unlearned believing what God
saith, become Wise unto Salvation. It is a sure direction in the
way of duty. It is a sure Fountain of living comforts, and a
sure foundation of lasting hopes. The statues of the Lord are
right, just as they should be; and, because they are right, they
rejoice the Heart. The Commandments of the Lord are pure, holy,
just, and good. By them we discover our need of a Saviour; and
then learn how to adorn his Gospel. They are the means which the
Holy Spirit uses in enlightening the eyes; they bring us to a
sight and sense of our Sin and misery, and direct us in the way
of duty. The fear of the Lord, that is, true religion and
Godliness, is Clean, it will cleanse our way; and it endureth
for ever. The ceremonial Law is long since done away, but the
Law concerning the fear of God is ever the same. The judgments
of the Lord, his precepts, are true; they are righteous, and
they are So altogether; there is No unrighteousness in any of
them. Gold is only for the body, and the concerns of time; but
Grace is for the soul, and the concerns of eternity. The Word of
God, received By Faith, is more precious than Gold; it is sweet
to the soul, sweeter than Honey. The pleasure of sense soon
surfeit, yet never satisfy; but those of religion are
substantial and satisfying; there is No danger of excess.

11-14 God's Word warns the wicked not to go On in his wicked
way, and warns the righteous not to turn from his good way.
There is a reward, not only after keeping, but in keeping God's
Commandments. Religion makes our comforts sweet, and our crosses
easy, Life truly valuable, and Death itself truly desirable.
David not only desired to be pardoned and cleansed from the sins
he had discovered and confessed, but from those he had forgotten
or overlooked. All discoveries of Sin made to us By the Law,
should drive us to the Throne of Grace, there to pray. His
dependence was the same with that of every Christian who says,
Surely in the Lord Jesus have I Righteousness and strength. No
Prayer can be acceptable before God which is not offered in the
strength of our Redeemer or Divine Kinsman, through Him who took
our nature upon him, that he might redeem us unto God, and
restore the long-lost inheritance. May our hearts be much
affected with the excellence of the Word of God; and much
affected with the evil of Sin, and the danger we are in of it,
and the danger we are in By it.

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